Friday, 10 June 2011

Building bears for charity

So, last Sunday, we were invited to an event at Build-A-Bear Workshop at the Trafford Centre to a meet-and-greet customer event which was going to benefit the Manchester Research Centre of Tommy's Charity. I deliberately didn't tell the children until that morning where we were going so we didn't get too excited. Missy Woo is a fan after getting a bear from there as a treat last year. We're forever being dragged into there to stare wistfully at the bears.

Maxine Clark and us
This was a bit different. We arrived and whilst we were waiting to go in, Missy Woo got to hug Bearemy, the Build-A-Bear mascot who was there with Pawlette. After being ushered in, we were given bears to build which were going to be passed onto sick or ill babies. The children liked this although the store was busy and there was quite a bit of waiting. And then, as we were doing this, a lovely lady came and told us that the children could go and choose a bear to take home. Any bear, any outfit. The children, who had been very good and not asked for bears as I had told them not to expect anything to take home, were besides themselves with joy.

Bears were duly selected and we waited to get them built - although Missy Woo then spotted the Hello Kittys and insisted on changing her mind. Outfits were chosen - ballerina for Hello Kitty - as Missy Woo has recently started ballet lessons; and Monkey picked out Darth Vader costume for his bear. And then we had to dress them. I then discovered how bad my bear dressing skills were, but then, I did have to put a tight rubberised outfit, facemask and wellies on a camouflage bear and tutu and ballet shoes on a kitten with an oversized head. Then we had to print "birth certificates" for our bears - of course, I did all the typing on the computers, especially as the barcode scanner wasn't working on ours and I had to type a very long code in to make it work. Hello Kitty was duly named Butterfly, and Darth Vader was named, well, Darth Vader!

Proud owners of Darth Vader and Butterfly
As we were leaving, we met Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop and "chief executive bear". She was amazed that Missy Woo was only 4 as she is so tall for her age. But then, she is quite small herself as you can see from the photo we had taken.

The children are very pleased with their new bears. They've been taken to bed most days and Missy Woo had a minor meltdown yesterday when she was feeling sensitive (she'd been watching High School Musical 2 and had got to a sad bit) and one of the reasons she gave me for being upset is that she wouldn't be allowed to sleep with her Hello Kitty when she grows up! Assuring her that she would, if she wanted to, be allowed to  take Hello Kitty to bed - but that she might not want to when she grows up - seemed to cheer her up. But I think we can say that the bears are a bit of a success and we'd all like to thank Build-A-Bear Workshop for inviting us and giving us a great afternoon.
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